Clause 3 - Limitations on order-making power
Regulatory Reform Bill [Lords]
Mr Andrew Lansley (South Cambridgeshire, Conservative)
I am not sure that I said that. Amendments might or might not achieve the purpose for which they are intended, but I believe that this amendment would achieve its purpose. If I had sought to limit the order-making power such that the total burden on each person affected by the changes would be reduced, I would have written that. I wrote ``all those affected'', and I am not persuaded that the meaning of the amendment is anything other than what I intended.
The purpose is clear. As my exchange with the Minister demonstrated, we wish to insert additional limitations such that the order-making power—when one considers the burdens and leaves aside the benefits—would be deregulatory in its effect. That does not mean that the regulatory burdens cannot be rebalanced—I take the Minister's point that that could happen. Fire safety legislation, if a different form of assessment is used, is a reasonable example of where burdens could be rebalanced. We all know that rebalancing burdens is not the same as increasing them; it can increase or decrease them.
A further test is that burdens should be decreased. It was wrong for Lord Falconer to suggest in the other place that the ability to rebalance legislation was a necessary reason not to have a specific deregulatory effect. It is perfectly possible to do that. He was wrong to suggest that the quantification of burdens is so difficult that it would be a constraint upon achieving that. It is clear that on a number of the tests that have to be applied through the legislation, Ministers will have to balance quantified and unquantified burdens and benefits. When we discuss clause 6, we might examine the extent to which quantification can be derived. That is a subset of the issue.
Ministers should not only be of the opinion but be able to demonstrate subsequently that the orders have a deregulatory effect, taking into account the burdens. That is what we seek through the amendment and what the Minister is clearly unable to give us. On that basis, I encourage my hon. Friends, and Government Members if they are of a mind, to sustain the original purposes of the Deregulation and Contracting-Out Act 1994 and to support amendment No. 12.